Thursday, August 19, 2010

It has been a year for visitors. The Maffins of Huddersfield, David and Penny (see my novel ‘The Journeys We make’) arrived for three weeks in July followed immediately by Diane for her annual holiday, then a very special guest, David Harwell from Alabama, a long way to come, like thirteen hours of travel from Huntsville to Atlanta, to Athens, to Chania. So why was this visit so special? Well, we hadn’t seen each other for twenty six years and if that didn’t’ warrant the most emotional of reunions I don’t know what does. We met doing Summer Stock at the Wayside Theatre in Virginia when he was a nineteen year old intern earning seventy five dollar a week and I was acting and directing. I seem to remember we only came together on stage in “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” when I played Pseudolis and he played Hero. That was one of the happiest of summers. After the season there were letters for a while but the correspondence died away and twenty six years later he is a fully fledged fully bearded professor at the University of Alabama. As I am forbidden to go out in the heat of the day it was Douglas who went to meet him at the airport. We had an anxious moment wondering if he was going to make his connection from Athens when his plane from Atlanta was two hours behind schedule. Douglas armed with a book to while away the time was prepared to wait six hours at the airport for the next incoming Olympic flight. He didn’t want to make a double journey of it because that was when the lorry drivers’ strike was on and petrol had to be conserved. And how were we going to show David our island if it was impossible to get more? He had fifteen minutes to make his connection and he made it. Fortunately the strike ended, gas was available again, and all was well. As I was still forbidden to go out in the heat of the day it was up to Chris and Douglas to take him around which they did quite splendidly. An avid Grecophile, when first visiting a Greek theatre, a small one at Aptera, he evidently burst into tears or, as he put it, lost his cherry! Never has ten days gone by so fast. The last three of his visit he spent in Athens with Douglas taking in the museums and archaeological sites. If he hadn’t lost his cherry before he most certainly would have done with this experience. He celebrated his forty-fifth birthday before returning to the states, taking with him a number of scripts including the musical I wrote with Kenny Clayton – “Black Maria”, so let’s hope some productions come of it. He, Chris, and Douglas spent some time on the computers putting together a presentable package of music, words, and cd. This musical was written a year before he was born but it was because I took it out of the script drawer a while back, reread it, thought it a much better show than I originally imagined, I decided to send it to David. He liked it, responded and, getting in touch with Skype, suddenly suggested he come and visit. I hope he enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having him here. It was a real treat.
More on visits and visitors next time…

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